Section Rejects Realignment Plan


The more county principals talked and argued about changes in league realignment the last 1 1/2 years, the more things will remain the same after Thursday’s voting at the Southern Section Council meeting.

By a margin of 8-1, with one abstention, league representatives rejected a realignment proposal that would have made dramatic changes in the Pacific Coast, Sea View, South Coast and Sunset leagues for the next two years. The 63 area principals had approved the proposal by a two-thirds majority vote on three occasions.

Immediately, another 8-1 vote approved a proposal to maintain the leagues as they’ve been since the last realignment (1994) for the 1998-99 school year, awaiting a proposal by the section’s executive committee governing the area placement of schools for realignment purposes.


Many principals see the upcoming proposal as a possible way to separate the county’s four private schools--Mater Dei, Santa Margarita, Servite and Rosary--from the public school leagues. Many public school supporters have considered this a sore spot since the section placed private schools in public leagues six years ago.

However, section officials have offered no guarantees their proposal, which they hope to have ready by April, can solve the realignment problems any better than other proposals. If adopted by the section council, the proposal would take effect in the 1999-2000 school year and require affected areas to realign at that time.

Thursday’s action “was like going from having a week to paint your house to having a year to paint it,” Capistrano Valley Athletic Director Tom White said. “And now you can also do some remodeling as well.”

Huntington Beach Principal Jim Staunton, who chaired the county principals’ releaguing committee, also supported Thursday’s actions.

“[The new area placement proposal could] allow for more freedom of movement we think will work for the schools,” Staunton said. “It [could give] the private schools three options: find someone they can [form a] league with, play within Orange County as an independent, or go out of the area. So it [could] add some options.”

Esperanza Principal Ray Plutko, who had successfully appealed the county principals’ realignment proposal at the council’s October meeting, said the extra year would go a long way toward providing a long-term solution.


“Area placement is the crucial issue, even more than releaguing,” Plutko said. “Today was the chance to find a window of opportunity toward that goal.”

There was plenty of discord, however, from those principals who felt nearly 18 months of work had been wasted.

Only the Sea View League, represented by Irvine Principal Gail Richards, voted in favor of the principals’ proposal and against maintaining the status quo. The Pacific Coast League, represented by Laguna Hills Principal Wayne Mickaelian, abstained from both votes.

Richards acknowledged that aligning schools through area placement “might be good in the long run, but we will still hurt some schools in the short run. And we keep changing the rules, which undercuts our efforts to resolve the problems.”

In other action, the council approved girls’ golf as a team sport in the Sunset and South Coast leagues, beginning this fall.